When your first big break in the NBA comes in Los Angeles, under the spotlight of Hollywood and the pressure of a storied franchise like the Lakers, it’s natural to feel intimidated. Not so with Darwin Hamm. Accustomed to overcoming obstacles, exceeding expectations and overcoming everything life throws at him, Haim embraces the challenge of Los Angeles with a candid premise: “I understand the challenge and I take it 1,000%.” I accept, because I like them.”
The Los Angeles Lakers began their coaching search process less than a year ago, closing the door on Frank Vogel’s time on the team and thus saying goodbye to the last coach who led them to glory. After a list that came to include far more recognized names, the franchise was ultimately left with three finalists: Terry Stotts, Kenny Atkinson, and Darwin Hamm.
The first two were old enough and experienced enough to be able to justify the bet, but the Laker community was at first skeptical of Hamm’s proposal. Smallest of the three, with little history in the league and few statistics to attest to his work. And yet, Rob Pelinka had no doubts: Haim was the one he picked to get the Angelenos back in the fight for the title.
It was his work as an assistant to Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee that got him embroiled in the debate. After winning the title with the Bucks in 2021, he became highly regarded in the league’s inner circles. Known for his communication skills, recent playing experience, and mindset and work ethic, Darwin Ham fit the bill, but what was his story?
From being shot to living in Granada
His childhood was not easy. Various incidents made him, as they say, “lost the fear of fear.” Ham was accidentally shot in the face when he was 14 years old. While waiting with his brother in a car, Humes became involved in a shootout in his hometown of Saginaw. One of the bullets hit him in the neck.
“It’s one of those life-changing experiences. It’s what made me not take anything for granted, that I understand the value of things. I’m not afraid to fail or succeed, just stick to my principles or authenticity.” I’m not truthful”, Ham remarked at the beginning of the course. This philosophy of life has made him what he is.
Haim completed his college career at Texas Tech, a university where he became famous for an incident that occurred during the 1996 national tournament. In a March Madness game that season, his Red Raiders failed to attend the match against UNC. until Ham grabbed the rebound and smashed the rim with such force that the backboard shattered.
This minor accident managed to return the tension to his team, who won in the end and allowed them to get the first ticket in their history to the Sweet Sixteen of the tournament, the Round of 16. Furthermore, in the same year Ham won the title of champion of the University Mathematics Competition, putting the icing on the cake for a discreet but satisfying career.
The NBA turned its back on him at first, and Ham was not lucky enough to hear his name on draft night. He bounced around to different teams for a few years, trying his luck in Denver, Washington or Indiana among others, though without much success. Such was his determination to play that he tried his luck in the ranks of CB Granada in our country as well.
He was part of a team led by Carlos Marsa in 1999, a team that was eliminated and in a city where he left more extra-sporting memories than anything else. A car crash against a telephone booth under the influence of alcohol and a positive for hashish in a friendly match held in Murcia are some of his highlights in Spain, a stage that should be forgotten.
One ring with the ‘Bad Boys’ and the other with Antetokounmpo
After the Andalusian tour, Darvin Ham went home and joined the ranks of the Bucks and Hawks, before landing in Detroit. There he would win a championship ring with the Pistons in a short but important role. Inspired by the energy and grit that characterized those bad boys, Haim had his career redirected.
However, this would not last long as a player. It didn’t take him long to realize what he could contribute from the other side of the band with a slate in hand. After a fleeting period of playing in the development league, the Albuquerque Thunderbirds were the first to give him that opportunity as an assistant, a role he would soon leave behind to become head coach.
In 2011, Mike Brown spotted him and hired his services to work for the Los Angeles Lakers. This was his first stint with the Los Angeles franchise, a period in which he impressed more than one person with his work ethic and dedication. He worked as an assistant in charge of player development, working with stars such as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol or Dwight Howard, and since then began to build the good reputation that has come with him.
It was Mike Budenholzer who brought him back to Atlanta, offering him his first front-line assistant job in the league. He spent five years with the Hawks and had a great impact in that unforgettable year for the franchise, with four All-Star players and a first place finish in the Eastern Conference. His legacy had barely begun but his work was already paying off.
In 2018 he decided to continue with Budenholzer and move his work to Milwaukee, another franchise he knew from his time as a player. The challenge of seeking the second title in Bucks history was immense, but the way Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way made it possible. Haim enjoys the glory he did with the Pistons 17 years ago and is declared NBA champion in June 2021.
Arriving in LA: Pressure and Expectations
Getting off in LA ain’t easy. A franchise with a rich history, great personalities to sit on that bench and very high expectations. Haim said shortly after his signing was announced, “I’ve been through so many things that I can’t consider it as added pressure.” “Pressure is like a hurricane, it only happens when you believe in it.”
Pressure or not, the challenge was clear: return the Lakers to a position where they could challenge for the title after a disappointing season. There are no half measures, success or failure in this type of franchise. “These guys need rigorous training.” With these words, Haim ended up convincing the Los Angeles management. His best letter of introduction was his job and they knew it in Los Angeles.
martin santana in the deep
And that’s what happened. Haim has managed to turn around a season that seemed lost for the Lakers. Even injuries to stars haven’t been able to keep up with a plan that only had one goal in mind: the NBA Finals. The work done during the course has paid off when it was most needed.
Now Haim and his team face an even bigger challenge. They are 0-2 in the Western Finals against Denver and have little margin for error. “Pressure? None, I just know that if we want to achieve what we did almost seven months ago, we have to work hard,” Ham declared recently. This morning, he (02:30 PM in Spain, League Pass and Movistar+) Let’s play the third deciding game.